Just when you think that you've settled into a genre, some wise guy comes along and shakes it up a little. In this case, we've got Cloudscape. This outfit out of Southern Sweden takes the standard progmetal formula and softens it with a little hard rock looseness while adding back in some death metal vocals for spice to make a potent musical recipe that goes down easy on their latest album, New Era.
And I have to say this formula kicks ass. You get the dynamics of your prog regulars like Dream Theater or Symphony X with their wailing guitar lines and powerful verse sections that builds things nicely. But then the choruses kick in with a melodic hard rock catchiness that I really like similiar to bands like Ark. And just when you're grooving on that, you hear the occasional death metal vocals floating around in the mix, reminiscient of In Flames or Scar Symmetry, that add an extra kick. Oh, and on top of all that, there's a really cool use of more industrial elements wisely made all the more effective by their judicious use. All of these elements blend perfectly into an overall sound that really sounds fresh yet familiar at the same time.
The Bottom Line: I know what I like in the way of metal music, but it's nice to have a band come around every now and then to ease you out of your comfort zone. In the hands of less talented musicians, the ambitious formula of Cloudscape would be a recipe for disaster. Hats off to these guys for making it work so well.
Tracks To Make You Wonder "Where Do They Get These Song Titles?": Silver Ending, Share Your Energy, Kingdom of Sand
- Genghis cannot stop rocking to this CD...